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For many, upselling is a dirty word but if you want to be able to offer your guests amazing experiences, learning ways to upsell is a step in the right direction and can increase your bottom line learning.

Let me share ways for you to improve your upsells.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

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Why Should You Want to Learn Why to Upsell?

Upselling will make your guests more satisfied and make your business more profitable.

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A properly trained employee can add apparent value to a room sale that the customer is already willing to make, increasing their stays worth as well as increasing your bottom line.

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This benefits everyone.

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I’ve heard many employees and owners say they feel uncomfortable trying to upsell, like upsell or cross-sell our dirty words.

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Upselling doesn’t have to be a dirty word. In fact, it can help you make your customers happier.

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First of all, I should explain the difference between upselling and cross-selling.

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Upselling is a strategy to sell a more expensive version of something the customer already has.

For example, going from a standard room to a mini-suite.

 

Cross-selling is a strategy to sell products that are different but possibly related.

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For example, if your property has a swimming pool you might offer your guests swimming goggles or swimming caps.

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The Best Ways to Upsell | Ep. #218

Books with Tips & Strategies for

Your Hotel, Resort, Inn,

Bed and Breakfast The Best Ways to Upsell | Ep. #218

 

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Here are a few reasons to stop thinking of upsell or cross-selling as dirty words.

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If done correctly, upselling can build a deeper relationship with your guests by helping your guests win.

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What I mean is, if you can make your customer feel like an upsell is a win for them, you both can win.

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For example, a couple is checking into your property and your front desk employee says “Would you like me to make a dinner reservation in our restaurant? With your room rate, you qualify for our dinner special, saving you $20.00 off the normal price.”

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Quite often, guests will hear they’re saving $20.00 and jump at the opportunity.

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This is a win for the guests who are saving $20.00 and for you as they might not have taken advantage of your restaurant.

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  • It is easier to upsell to returning guests than to new guests.

According to the book Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new guest is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing guest is 60-70%.

With returning guests, there is a trust factor and for that reason, upselling is easier.

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  • Upselling increases your guest’s lifetime value.

Each upsell can increase the lifetime value of your loyal guests, paying off for many years down the line.

When was the last time you went into a McDonalds and not been offered fries or a drink to go with your burger or last time you bought an electrical appliance and not been told the benefits of an extended warranty?

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Maybe now you can see the benefit of learning and then teaching your employees to upsell. It is a vital skill that you can learn by approaching each sale smartly, making use of various upsell techniques, and laying the groundwork for repeat business.

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 What are the mechanics of upselling?

  • You need the right questions to identify the customer’s wants.

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  • You need to know how to listen to the customer’s preferences or requests

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  • How to answer and make suggestions or give options that meet the customer’s needs.

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  • You need to know how to describe the products, services or options.

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It is not only the front desk employees or reservations that should learn how to upsell, but your housekeepers and wait staff might have an opportunity to mention products, services or options in passing.

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Let all employees try or experience what you have to offer. The more they know about what you have to offer and being able to share their experiences, will add value to the offer and easier to upsell.

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I highly recommend you create a script with all the details and give it to your employees but let them develop their own pitch.

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If it sounds more natural, it will sound more genuine. Everyone should practice their pitches on each other.

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Practice makes perfect.

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Are these making sense? Let me know in the comments.

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Read your customer

If a couple is getting away for the weekend, you could offer “couple spa treatments” or “candlelight dinner”.

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If it’s a family, you could offer them “a family package to the zoo” or “passes to the local swimming pool”. You can set these kinds of opportunities up by cross-promoting with other businesses.

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If your business includes group travel. Your salesperson could offer “baggage service” or “group dinner”.  

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Plan for objections

When learning how to upsell, it is important to train your staff to see and handle different situations. Is the objection real or just a guest’s way of saying, I need more time or information?

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Here are examples of situations they could come across:

  • The guest would like something but not what you offered

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  • Maybe the timing is wrong

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  • They are new to your property and you have not built trust yet

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  • They don’t understand the offer

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  • Staff have to decide whether a No is a No, or request for more information

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Talk with your employees about times they were upsold, and the strategies used.

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Script out objections you have received for your particular offers, how they’re handled and then discuss how they could be handled better.

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Two great rules to follow

  • Never sell to an extremely frustrated or angry customer.

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  • Always show compassion and understanding for your guest’s perspective

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Give incentives

Whether it be a small percentage of the upsell to the salesperson or an incentive that is equitable so everyone is motivated to contribute. It is important that you give regular updates on progress. A combination of both works well.

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These have to be measurable goals and monitored regularly. The incentives do not always have to be financial; for example, they could be vouchers, certificates, meals or movie passes.

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Guide and support

I have stressed many times in the past how important training is and when it comes to upselling, don’t assume because you’ve told people how to do something they will be able to just go out and deliver it consistently.

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You have to observe how your staff handles the upselling conversation and give them feedback and because it’s mutually beneficial, have employees critique and share ideas with each other.

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All feedback should be positive with options.

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What to promote

In order to do this effectively, the first thing is to determine which are the products or services you wish to promote. Whenever and whatever you decide to promote unless it is perceived as a value to the customer, you’ll be wasting your time and not building customer loyalty.

The type of options we have seen work:

  • Room upgrades

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  • Special packages (if possible, utilize outside attractions and special events, as well as in house offers)

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  • Champagne, wine, chocolate and fruit in the rooms

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  • Spa or wellness treatments

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  • Outdoor excursions and attractions

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  • Theatre

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Do your guests a favour 

It is a wonderful feeling when your guests rebook because they were being made to feel special. If your customer perceives what you’re doing as a favour, they’re much more likely to return to the place where they’re “treated right.”

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One of the best ways to do your customer a favour is to navigate them toward a cheaper, but not the cheapest option.

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There’s nothing more convincing than lowering your voice and saying, “Now, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but this option is (overpriced-not as much fun-not as tasty). This other option gets you the same features and you’re sacrificing none of the quality, but that’s my opinion, but this is what I use”.

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Be yourself 

It does not matter if you are an extrovert or introvert, studies show that the best salespeople are versatile, those who can feel legitimate excitement and enthusiasm for guests’ purchases.

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Be genuine and be honest, and you’ll consistently be able to upsell.

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In conclusion

You have to develop amazing features and add-ons for your guests. Then learn and teach your employees how to upsell properly, and implement these procedures into your day-to-day operation. By offering additional features and upselling them will not only improve your guest’s experience, have them rave about your property but will boost your bottom line.

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What would you like to upsell at your property? Let me know in the comments.

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You will have access to this post for six weeks before it gets locked in the “vault” for Hospitality Property School Group members only. When you see that we have something new, don’t mark it “Unread” or file it away in the belief you’ll read it later because you might miss your chance.

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To see all the other valuable material you’d have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in the episode post-show notes.

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.The Best Ways to Upsell | Ep. #218

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In the next episode, I will talk about how to fire an employee.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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PS. Have you signed up for INNsider Tips? You can find the link in the show notes.

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